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By Richard Bruce BA, MA, and PhC (ABD)in Economics from University of California

Comments on the Bible Names Typology Miracle

The stories of Old and New Testament figures with the same name are amazingly, I believe miraculously, related. I have written an essay on this typology of Bible names. This page collects the reactions of many people to the Bible names miracle.

Many people have commented on the Bible Names Miracle including professors and experts, who were generally impressed, and editors, who were not. Also included in this page are the reactions of regular people I met through church and this site's visitors.

Professors and Experts

I visited several professors who were Bible experts at the Graduate Theological Union, GTU, in Berkeley. GTU is a collection of nine religious colleges. It has what they describe as "the most comprehensive theological library in the country." GTU is one of the most distinguished, if not the most distinguished center of theological study in the country.

When I told several professors at GTU about the Miracle of Old and New Testament names a couple were impressed and suggested that I should see the most distinguished professor on the Bible at GTU, Wilhelm Wuellner. It was quite an honor that a couple of professors at one of the most distinguished centers of theological study would want me to show the material to the most distinguished professor in Bible study. I think it is reasonable to say that Wuellner would probably have won the Nobel Prize in Bible studies if there was a Nobel in Bible studies.

Wuellner claimed that he had seen the material over a life time spent in the library, but that it was amazing that I had collected it just by looking at a Bible and a concordance. With out thinking much I said that it had taken me a half an hour. It must have taken considerably longer than that, but it did not take long, perhaps a couple of hours.

The patterns were discovered when I was reading the Old Testament for the first time. I saw enough to get the idea that perhaps every or most New Testament figures were tied to Old Testament figures with the same name. Then I quickly found most of what is in the essay.

Wuellner could not give me sources for the connections in the essay, and I have not been able to find sources so I doubt that many of the connections have been published anywhere, though some clearly have been published. More recently I have been searching for the connections on the Internet. I have found some, but not others.

Nevertheless, I am fairly sure the idea that many New Testament names are connected to their Old Testament equivalents in the ways described by the essay is original. Others have seen some of the individual instances, but I do not think they spotted the overall pattern.

I sent the material to Gerry Matatics, who has been a professor at several universities. Matatics is interested in exactly this kind of thing. His first reaction was that it was simply impossible. People have been trying to discover things like this for two millennia, since the time of Christ. Then when he looked at it again he said it was amazing but I had done it. He thought I had quite a gift that should be developed.

Note that Matatics took a different position from Wuellner. Wuellner is more distinguished, but this is exactly Matatics' area of study, so perhaps Matatics is the more relevant expert, and Matatics says this is original.

Matatics pushed me to send it to an apologetics magazine. I did not think the magazine would be interested, and unfortunately I was right.

I sent a copy to Matatics to be published in his news letter. I never found out if he published it.

Matatics also said that the material should be submitted to an academic journal. I suggested we could cooperate on that and he was interested in that. But I lost contact with Matatics and was not been able to contact him for years. Through the web I have finally got back into contact. I heard several speeches he gave in Sacramento and ate lunch with him and several others who attended, this was a special honor.

We did not discuss this essay at his seminar, but when he contacted me by e-mail he seemed to remember it in some detail.

I am still interested in submitting the material to an academic journal if I can find a Biblical scholar who wants to do that. So far I have not found any takers.

Editors and Publications

An apologetics magazine was not at all impressed by the material. The editor said it was not apologetics. Apologetics is a systematic defense of the faith and this is a systematic defense of the faith, so it actually is apologetics. The fact that college professors and other experts and intellectuals find it so interesting reinforces the point that it is a systematic defense of the faith. Furthermore this type of defense of the faith was used extensively in the Bible, so apparently some Saints and God thought it was a fairly effective way to defend the faith.

Still I did not think that the essay was the apologetics magazine's style of apologetics so I was not surprised that they rejected it. Each magazine has its own style and area, if what you are sending them is not their style and they reject your work, it does not mean your work is wrong or bad anymore than a biology paper rejected by a chemistry journal is wrong or bad, its just the wrong place to send it.

Not that I apologize for submitting my article to this particular apologetics magazine. Gerry Matatics had worked for the apologetics magazine, so I was perfectly justified in following his advice even if I did not think they would take it.

I also sent the material to another apologetics ministry. I got my my best rejection letter yet. The director said do not keep trying, watch television instead.

I sent the material to one of those supermarket tabloids where they report that Saddam and Bin Laden have just adopted an ape, no I did not make that up. The tabloid never responded.

I sent an e-mail to a Christian periodical that concentrates on miracles, but not this kind of miracle. The editor did not respond.

I have to admit the editors may have been showing some wisdom in rejecting this material. Many people visit the web page but the evidence suggests that less than one in ten read the work all the way through. The essay is more interesting to the experts than the average person. The average person probably figures that determining if this has value is the experts job and they will let them do it.

Skeptics and Unbelievers

I also sent the material to someone associated with the Skeptical Inquirer. I contacted the Skeptical Inquirer and asked who I should send my miracle for debunking. They gave me an address, probably an e-mail address, and I sent it. A graduate student responded and said he was too busy. He suggested I could send the material to the Skeptical Inquirer for publication but they would probably not be interested. He did not seem to grasp that I was challenging him to debunk the miracle. So far it would seem that skeptics are not actually attempting to disprove miracle stories, they simply ignore them, but perhaps I am unfair.

I showed an earlier version of the names essay to a graduate student in Biology at UC Davis who said that it was reasonably impressive but he had seen things with numbers that he was more impressed with. I think he had seen something like Theomatics or the Bible Codes, but that was many years ago before the famous Bible Codes book came out. Neither system convinced him or made him give up his unbelief. Perhaps I need to get some formulas and math into this as scientists are suspicious about anything that lacks numbers and formulas.

I also discussed the stories of the twins with a statistics professor whom I had taken a class from at the University of California at Davis. One can begin to get some type of statistical handle on this and our initial back of the envelope calculations suggested that there is very little chance of it happening by chance. This did not convince him to become interested in the faith.

Ordinary People

There was one lay person who saw this many years ago, thought it was great and asked for copies to distribute. I gave her several. By linking to this page from a web site, or telling people where to find it you can do much the same thing more easily.

I can not say there has been a huge interest in this among ordinary people. Many ordinary people probably feel that evaluating claims like this is best left to the experts. Many times the experts do not have the time, which may leave a role open for the educated lay person, but for most people their decision seems reasonable. If however experts decide that this is an interesting argument and give their seal of approval ordinary people and perhaps popular publications may become interested.

Your Reactions

There have been tens of thousands of page hits on the the names miracle. I think it was averaging about four or five thousand hits a year when this web site was on Geocities. Some times there was a big spike, more than a hundred hits in a day. So occasionally a group of people will get interested. I think I lost about three quarters of my audience when Geocities shut down. So now I may get a thousand hits a year, but that could change.

Furthermore, I have had several notes in my guest book. Here they are. I have left off the names to completely protect the writers. If you want your comment taken off this page, or want your name on it to take credit, you can contact me.

Some people are saying, so what. For example, "Interesting, but beyond recognizing the pattern and its unlikelihood of being incidental, can you discern a greater meaning to it? How do I apply this?"

I am not trying to draw any moral or theological conclusions from this. I probably would not trust them even if I saw them. The argument is purely apologetic. The names miracle is another reason among many to take the Christian faith seriously. As to how you can apply this, I suppose you could show it to people who do not believe in God, and then report back to me on the results.

Another person wrote, "The NT to OT name comparisons are interesting, although somewhat contrived. Not sure what of value comes from this- for example the assertion that twins and scarlet appear related... so what?"

If the ideas are totally contrived, my work rather than God's, then the only significance is that this shows what amazing things people can come up with in a relatively short time if they are looking for patterns. If God created the pattern then there must be a God, and he seems to be pointing to the Bible as important.

Another person wrote that I had not shown that God wrote the Bible, rather I have shown that people invented the Jesus story. Does this mean there was no Jesus and a person or group just invented the whole thing, all the different gospels and letters as a hoax. Then they somehow convinced everyone that there had been a church which had continued in existence since the time of Christ and they were the last remnants of the Church. People fell for this and Christianity was born. Seems pretty far fetched. I cover these issues near the end of the essay.

Still these responses represent three of the standard options. A miracle might be a mistake, perhaps I just saw patterns where none existed, a fake, the early Christians set the patterns up intentionally, or the real thing, God has done a miracle. There are other options, for example, the devil, or Loki, the Norse god of evil, did it. Then there can be variations on the above, for example, the apostles picked events that really happened and emphasized those elements that would produce a pattern when compared to the Old Testament.

Some people liked the work. "Interesting site. Enjoyed reading typology. I`m impressed, never saw that before. Everything in the Bible means something. How it all goes together proves God's hand is in it." Another wrote, "You have found some interesting details, that I have enjoyed. O/T and the N/T do connect in varied ways. Good stuff!" A third said, "Your article and thoughts are interesting. I believe they are valid as to the types and symbols you draw from them. Thank you for putting them online!" A fourth said, "Excellent stuff. Typology has made a big difference in my appreciation and truth of scripture I am striving to be an amateur apologist and it has been a great help." A Fifth wrote, "Great work on typology. I have never heard these parallels before." Finally, a lawyer friend of mine said "Today I enjoyed your pages on the names miracle. Thanks."

I do not think that my article lead to the conversion of any of these writers, they no doubt were already Christians, but it is encouraging to get positive feed back.

I do not know if this final comment was referring to the names miracle, or something else. I often get these comments, where I am not sure what they are referring too. "If there is a God why would you need to know her/him/it by religion? Why not know God by science?" This is a good question, and I have lots of good answers. I wrote a long answer to the question. I think we went back and forth. Perhaps I should write some web pages dealing with this question. If you would like to see this you can leave a note in the guest book.

Of course I would love to hear more about your reaction to the names miracle. Did you see the light and become a Christian as a result of the essay, or have you found an error in my argument. So far the thousands who have seen the essay have not given me either response.

You can leave one or more notes in my guest book. Do not write much beyond the little box they give you, they will simply cut off the last part or your message, just put a second and as many messages as you need in the guest book. If you leave an e-mail I will usually contact you. Then you can reply with a longer message.

Miracle of Old and New Testament Names

Last updated February 23, 2010

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